Can Democracy Save Egypt and Syria?

Islam is a worldview masquerading as a religion intent on world domination through fear, terror, and the ballot box. The talk from both ends of the political spectrum is that “democracy” will cure the ills of Iraq, Iran, Egypt, and the surrounding Muslim nations. What if the revolutionaries Egypt decide they want a Taliban-style political system whose goal is to defeat the infidel west and impose Sharia law on Muslims and non-Muslims worldwide, and they choose violence to accomplish the goal and the masses remain silent because they are afraid of reprisals? Democracy in the hands of wild-eyed fanatics is perilous. In the end, they would have used the democratic process to deny the democratic process once they gain power through the democratic process. It’s been said that Democracy is like a streetcar. When you reach your destination, you get off. The French Revolution is a textbook example. A supposed revolution of the people devolved into a slaughter of the people on a massive scale.

Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. There are democratic elements in our constitutional system, but these at one time were balanced with the belief in an objective law that the majority of people understood and followed, courts bound by that law, and elected representatives who took an oath to uphold that law. Moreover, western-style democratic principles are built on the remnants of a Christian moral order. Self-government under God’s government tempered the potential harmful effects of a pure democracy that could be manipulated by evil men.

Attempts to export our political form without the worldview that gave it its heart will lead to unintended consequences. Democracy in the Mideast will only lead to the imposition of the prevailing worldview which is anti-Christian and anti-Western. (Being anti-Western is not an all-bad thing, where less than family-friendly commercials pour forth from our televisions every ten minutes for the whole world to see. This says nothing about the legalization of homosexuality and the bizarre notion that two people of the same sex can get married and adopt children. See Dinesh D’Souza’s The Enemy at Home for a discussion of what makes many non-terrorist Muslims anti-Western.) There will be enough people in Egypt, influenced by Islamo-fascist terrorists who have their own special kind of death wish. They would love to get the chance to vote in a “democratic election” so they can see their dream of an Islamic world realized.

Holland used to have a Christian base. Over a period of time, the government adopted a form of religious pluralism, giving equal standing, first, to all Christian denominations, then to religion in general, and finally to every worldview imaginable. Holland has lost its worldview base. It has become a haven for drugs, prostitution, and euthanasia — all legal! Its liberal immigration policies are beginning to worry people, especially after the murder of Dutch filmmaker and outspoken critic of Islamic extremism Theo van Gogh. Tens of thousands of Dutch citizens have moved elsewhere, mostly to New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. This has led to a higher concentration of Muslims.

Muslims make up ten percent of the population. If population trends continue, Muslims could become a viable political force and remake Holland into a Muslim nation in the lifetime of our grandchildren. Holland’s religious pluralism could be its downfall. Is it too late? The rest of Europe is in a similar demographic predicament.

There is so much talk about democracy that few people have considered what our founders have said about this fictional ideal. Democracy is no moral cure all. John Winthrop (1588–1649), first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, declared direct democracy to be “the meanest and worst of all forms of government.”1 John Cotton (1584–1652), seventeenth-century Puritan minister in Massachusetts, wrote in 1636: “Democracy, I do not conceive that ever God did ordain as a fit government either for church or commonwealth. If the people be governors, who shall be governed?”2

James Madison (1751–1836), recognized as the “father of the Constitution,” wrote that democracies are “spectacles of turbulence and contention.” Pure democracies are “incompatible with personal security or the rights of property. . . . In general [they] have been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”3

John Adams, the second president of the United States, stated that “the voice of the people is ‘sometimes the voice of Mahomet, of Caesar, of Catiline, the Pope, and the Devil.’”4

Francis A. Schaeffer described democracy as “the dictatorship of the 51%, with no controls and nothing with which to challenge the majority.”5 The logic is simple: “It means that if Hitler was able to get a 51% vote of the Germans, he had a right to kill the Jews.”6

Simon Bolivar (1783–1830), who is often described as the “George Washington of South America,” died an “exhausted and disillusioned idealist” at the age of forty-seven. Shortly before his death, he declared that Latin was ungovernable. Revolutions were not enough. When the bloodshed is over, then what? “He who serves a revolution,” he said, “ploughs the sea.”7 He was discouraged with how the people expressed their new freedoms. Some months before his death Bolivar wrote: “There is no good faith in [Latin] America, nor among the nations of [Latin] America. Treaties are scraps of paper; constitutions, printed matter; elections, battles; freedom, anarchy; and life a torment.”8

  1. Quoted in A. Marvyn Davies, Foundation of American Freedom: Calvinism in the Development of Democratic Thought and Action (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1955), 11. []
  2. Letter to Lord Say and Seal, quoted by Perry Miller and Thomas H. Johnson, eds., The Puritans: A Sourcebook of Their Writings, 2 vols. (New York: Harper and Row, [1938) 1963), 1:209–210. Also see Edwin Powers, Crime and Punishment in Early Massachusetts: 1620–1692 (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1966), 55. []
  3. Quoted in Jacob E. Cooke, ed., The Federalist, (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1961), 61. []
  4. John Adams, quoted by Gilbert Chinard, Honest John Adams (Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Co., [1933] 1961), 241 in John Eidsmoe, “The Christian America Response to National Confessionalism,” in Gary Scott Smith, ed., God and Politics: Four Views on the Reformation of Civil Government (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1989), 227–228. []
  5. Francis A. Schaeffer, The Church at the End of the Twentieth Century (1970) in The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer: A Christian Worldview, 5 vols. (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1982), 4:27. []
  6. Schaeffer, The Church at the End of the Twentieth Century, 4:27. []
  7. Edward Coleson, “The American Revolution: Typical or Unique?,” The Journal of Christian Reconstruction, Symposium on Christianity and the American Revolution, ed. Gary North, 3:1 (Vallecito, CA: Chalcedon, 1976), 176–177. []
  8. Quoted in Edward Coleson, “The American Revolution: Typical or Unique?,” 177. []
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